Maryam reviewed Reclaiming the L-Word: Sappho’s Daughters Out in Africa edited by Allyn Diesel

I just finished Reclaiming the L-Word: Sappho’s Daughters Out in Africa, edited by Allyn Diesel. It is a wonderful anthology of personal essays, poetry, and photographs, each African woman telling the tale of what it is to be queer in South Africa. They range from the heartwarming – Yulinda Noortman’s description of shopping for wedding fabric with her bride-to-be, in “The Dog, The Cat, The Parrot and the Pig and Other Tales” – to the heartwrenching: Keba Sebetoane’s “Who Are You to Tell Me What I Am?”, the brief, calamitous tale of her struggle with rape and the flawed system that kept her, and so many other women, from justice. My favorite was “I Have Truly Lost a Woman I Loved”, which features the wonderful photography of Zanele Muholi – one of her photographs graces this volume’s cover – and is a loving essay to her late mother. I only wished that some of the photographs she wrote about had been included in this book. Although some of the essays may begin in a similar fashion – I was married to a man, and then… or When I was a child…, there is something in the collection that everyone should be able to appreciate, and should serve as food for thought both in terms of social justice and how we relate to other women, no matter what their place in the queer spectrum.

One Reply to “Maryam reviewed Reclaiming the L-Word: Sappho’s Daughters Out in Africa edited by Allyn Diesel”

  1. kryshe

    I recently tuned in to a documentary on television focusing on gays in Uganda. What I saw led me to tears! Their government passed a bill in 2009 against homosexuals! Anyone living in Uganda that is caught in the act of homosexual sex could be jailed! They could also be killed. I found this extremely disturbing, there is a newspaper solely focusing on gays. Its like a gay blogger, notifying residents there’s a homosexual living among them. Last, if anyone knows your gay and don’t call the police, they could be jailed as well. I’m grateful to be a citizen here in the U.S. I’m a lesbian and I don’t know what I would I do if I couldn’t express my love! Thanks, your photo is capturing!

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